State offers tips to help seniors prepare for winter
should get flu shots & get homes ready
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[December 20, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- As the area
braces for the first snowstorm of the season, leading up to the
official first day of winter, Illinois Department on Aging Director
John K. Holton, Ph.D., reminds older adults and their families to
get ready for the cold weather.
"There remains some uncertainty about the amount and duration of
snowfall expected this week, but the fact we know it's coming is a
great reminder to get prepared for the cold," said Holton. "Older
adults, their families and caregivers who assist should make
necessary arrangements to best deal with the cold and snowy weather.
It's important to be prepared."
People age 50 and older are urged
to get vaccinated against flu since they are considered at higher
risk for influenza. The flu season runs through April and is
predicted to be particularly strong this season.
Seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. Older
people are more susceptible to the cold. People who lower the
thermostat to reduce heating bills risk developing hypothermia, a
potentially fatal condition in which the body temperature drops
dangerously low. Also at an increased risk are older people who take
certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition, or who
have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and
Have the furnace checked to make sure it is in good shape and
heating ducts are properly ventilated. Proper ventilation is also a
concern when using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove or
space heater. If you use heating oil, make sure you have enough.
The state has a website that offers information about how to
battle winter in Illinois and about available resources so seniors
aren't left to make difficult decisions like whether to pay their
heating bills or take their prescription medications this winter.
For more information on how to keep warm, including tips to keep you
safe and self-reliant in case of power failure, call 1-877-411-WARM
Some other practical tips for seniors, in anticipation of the
cold weather ahead, include:
layers, both indoors and outdoors.
doing exercises and other activities indoors when you can't go
Eating well and drinking 10 glasses of
water daily; stocking up on nonperishable food supplies, just in
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medications in the house or making arrangements to have your
Having your house
winterized: caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows;
insulating walls, attics and pipes near outer walls and crawl
spaces that are susceptible to freezing.
someone else to shovel the snow. The strain from the cold and
hard labor could cause a heart attack; sweating can lead to a
chill and even hypothermia.
Making sure you
and your family knows how to shut off the water supply in case
vehicle for winter: checking wipers, tires, lights and fluid
levels regularly; keeping a windshield scraper or small broom
for ice and snow removal; maintaining at least a half-tank of
gas during the winter season.
trips carefully and traveling by daylight with at least one
Protecting against fire: buying a fire
extinguisher; making sure space heaters are at least three feet
from anything flammable; not overloading extension cords.
For more information about programs and services to assist older
adults in Illinois and their caregivers, call the Department on
Aging Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or, for hearing-impaired use
only, call TTY 1-888-206-1327.
Department on Aging file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]